Words: Nick Carroll
Six days into the Volcom Fiji Pro waiting period, what’s the flow? And what’s coming?
Well, there’s some obvious shit. Adriano’s dropped the rankings lead as quickly as he gained it. JJF has come back in to the draw with seismic effect, racking up the score of the contest in his round two outing. He shook off the inevitable downshift with a close win over Damien Hobgood in round three, and will now have the considerable luxury – as will Taj and Jordy – of one less heat in what may be a jam-packed last day or so.
The top half of the draw now sucks, by the way. The three aforementioned plus Kelly and reef-break lover Jeremy Flores, with Sebastian Zietz and Mitch Coleborn lurking. There’s a lot of form in that bunch.
But there’s also some less obvious shit. Dreams of a goofy apocalypse are vanishing with each round, as goofies draw each other all over the place. Nat Young versus Matt Wilkinson? CJ Hobgood versus Travis Logie? Well there’s another two down for a start.
Coleborn however is a real lurker, in our barely considered opinion. Guys are starting to relish heats against Kelly, perhaps because they know he won’t be around forever, perhaps because they figure if Willian Cardoso can do it so can they. Mitch has some good heat time under his belt over the past three weeks and is as good a chance as anyone of getting a win against KS in long left barrels.
Oh yeah: It’s no cakewalk. The competitive challenge at Restaurants yesterday was a fair bit greater than it appeared. The wave was anything but perfect; big wobbles due to tide shifts, and the wind going devil through the last third, making top turns and cutties into dicey propositions. Surfers were ripped right back to form and control, and many of them made crucial clumsy errors under the pressure of that tricky lineup and the underlying expectation of nine-plus barrels. There will be some nice reef scratches requiring attention before the crew takes to Keramas’ waters, that’s for sure.
All up: Underneath the whole Spring Break In The South Pacific vibe, things seem a little out of phase. Individual surfers have made some odd choices off their own bats about whether or not to show up, which suggests that communications might not be all they could be. Bits and pieces of rounds are getting done, which prevents much of a clear competitive pattern emerging.
It all feels like one of those not quite stellar years at Fiji’s scary distant cousin, Teahupo’o. Which reminds us: Suddenly, the surf rhythm’s not all it could be either. The event is looking like it’ll have to finish tight. Strong storms in the Fiji swell window have decayed somewhat as forecasts have approached real time. There’s likely to be a clean long-range SW swell mixed with shorter range south and SE influences on Tuesday and early Wednesday – along with a fair bit of the tradewind that’s annoyed the event into postponement today.
But that’s kind of it...and that spells hard surfing, focus, perfect board choices, and most of all laser accurate wave selection. Whoever wins this is going to have to work for it.
Fuck it! Let's bust out some odds.
Tom Waterhouse we’re not. Hell, we won’t even give you your money back. But if you must gamble amongst yourselves, try these on for size. It’s better than betting on Origin.
3-1 Jordy Smith
7-2 JJF, Kelly
12-1 Taj, Nat Young
20-1 Mick, Jeremy
25-1 Julian, Kerrzy, Sebastian, Wilko
40-1 Coleborn, Kai, Miguel, CJ
50s-plus Yadin, Kolohe, Simpo, Travis, Heitor